The mobile swipeable story format has taken over social media, and now it has come to Google Travel, as well. It’s not groundbreaking, but it gives users an option to search for hotels in a way they may prefer.
Google has taken inspiration from the social media story format in a new tool to help travelers browse hotels.
The search engine has added a tool as an option to help mobile users simplify the hotel search on Google Travel.
In a swipeable format somewhat similar to Instagram stories, users can view hotel options with easy access to info like location, reviews, and price. The user can also save the hotel or go directly to the hotel website for booking. Alternately, users can select view details, and access booking paid and free booking links from a variety of online travel agency and hotel partners.
Users can access the carousel of stories by searching for hotels directly on the mobile version of travel.google.com, then tapping on the row of hotel photos. Or, after making a hotel search through the regular mobile Google search engine, scroll and tap on the option to view all results; from there, tap on the row of hotel photos to view them in the story format.
Then, swipe left and right to view photos and other info for a particular hotel, and swipe up and down to view a different hotel.
Unlike Instagram stories, the hotel stories on Google don’t auto-advance.
The previous ways to view results are still available; this is just another option for people who prefer a different format.
“Choosing the right place to stay can make or break a trip, but it’s not always a simple process. There are lots of factors to consider — from location to reviews to price. And that’s a lot to take in, especially if you’re trying to do all this research on your phone,” Google stated in a blog post.
Google last fall also brought back its price guarantee program for flights after its life was cut short by the pandemic. Google is testing the program, and what its future looks like remains to be seen.
The flight price guarantee pilot program is rolled out across the U.S. Google hopes to extend the program but has to get beyond the limitation that it can only determine when a traveler books a flight if it has been booked on Google, a feature the company is committed to phasing out. Google needs to figure out a workaround for that issue whether through airline partnerships or some other means.
Meanwhile, Google made heavy layoffs earlier this year that included Google Flights, and it’s unclear how or if that’s part of a larger strategy.
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Photo credit: Pictured is a guest room at the Embassy Suites by Hilton San Antonio Brooks Hotel & Spa. Hilton Worldwide